What is Farm Town, you ask. To have a glimpse of a glance at a glimmer of what Farm Town is like, remember the gleeful days when you had just discovered Facebook, Myspace, or maybe even the business ones, like LinkedIn? The groups you could find, the causes, the cool videos you could post. . . I can’t even say that my Facebook enthusiasm ever waned, really. It’s just that I apparently have room for a finite number of addictions, and Farm Town has supplanted at least part of my FB one.
But, good grief ! How could a woman fully growed wake up at the ass crack of dawn to see what chores await her on her virtual freaking farm!! I think of myself as a fully functioning human being. Okay, okay. So, my son tells me that I’m a bit of a control freak; and maybe I shiver at the thought of romantic involvement; and maybe I had a bit of acquisitionitis a few years ago, leaving me with a house full of stuff that I am now giving to Goodwill Industries. But other than that, I’m pretty normal.
But, then, in waltzes Farm Town. And I swear, this must be what crack is like.
Oh, it starts innocently enough. Farm Town gives you a little farmstead of about eight fields, plows and plants a few of them for you. The crops ripen, you sell them, you make a little virtual dough. Nice. If this doesn’t catch you, you’re safe. But if you venture in even a step further, it’s all over for you, sister.
The potatoes and strawberries (or strawbs as we in Farm Town call them) are cheap and ripen quickly, and are, therefore, the obvious choice for a novice farmer. A few more days into farming, you have more ready cash for more expensive seeds, like tomatoes. Your friends, conspirators in sharing their sickly farming addiction, are already planting coffee, for criminy’s sake. Coffee is damn expensive. The gauntlet has been thrown. Every day they send you horses and chickens and coconut trees and apple trees. And soon your farm, too, begins to take on a kind of glow. You buy fences to keep your horses and sheep in separate fields. And scarecrows to keep the birds (which Farm Town has not yet added) away from your corn.
Soon you realize that you’ve run out of room. But lucky for you, Farm Town allows to take your cash and buy more land. Land! At this point, the addict’s relationship to trees alters. The trees really do crowd the crops. Trees that you’ve loved all your life become an annoyance. You understand for the first time why Iowa looks that way. Crops as far as the eye can see, except for butt up against the house, where someone finally wins the argument for having a few trees.
And this is where you become either a factory farmer or a cottage farmer. Pesticide-laden or organic. Iowa or Highgrove. I think that, even in Farm Town, the factory farmer becomes obsolete. There’s only so much money, and so much land, before it loses all its juice. You can plant only so many rows on so many consecutive days before you wear out your fingers. And your soul. You either give up or go back to your cottage farming roots.
So, try it. Come on. Just a little. It won’t hurt . . .and you might learn a little about farming.